Guarding new frontiers: Cyber defence body proposed

Published: September 1, 2013

Cyber space, ideology, culture and religion have been transformed into the new battle-fields, replacing the old physical ones, according to Senator Kamran. DESIGN: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Like terrorism and military aggression, cyber security must be treated as a major threat to the country, the Senate’s panel on defence said on Saturday.

The panel proposed creating an Inter Services Cyber Command (ISCC) under the office of Chairman Joints Chief of Staff Committee (CJCSC) to pre-empt any cyber attack.

The command centre would coordinate between different law enforcement agencies on cyber security and cyber defence, recommended Senate Committee on Defence and Defence Production report released last week.

“Cyber warriors have replaced combat soldiers to a great extent, if not completely,” Senator Kamran told the committee meeting. “Cyber space, ideology, culture and religion have been transformed into the new battle-fields, replacing the old physical ones,” she added.

Quoting researches, the senator informed the committee that the US hegemony over communication has given them immense power to observe, breach and retrieve locked information from other smaller powers.

Kamran noted that the ‘unprecedented, non-conventional’ cyber security threat would have far reaching consequences on Pakistan’s sovereignty, security and privacy.

Since Pakistan is a nuclear state, it depends on computers and communications devices to control and command.

Expressing concerns the senator questioned “What would be the consequences if the US or any other country or group manages to breach the national nuclear command control and communication system?” She suggested that Pakistan needed to urgently improve its cyber crime, cyber surveillance and cyber espionage techniques.

The senator stated that law enforcement agencies were not trained to combat cybercrime with outdated operational and procedural tools. Pakistan, according to her, should particularly focus on cyber defence capability as well as the ability to retaliate and launch cyber attacks, if required, to deter and counter cyber aggression.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, the chairman of the committee, recommended that the government should form a National Computer Emergency Response Team.

He recommended that a cyber security task force with affiliation of ministries of defence, information technology, interior and foreign affairs alongside professionals from the field should also be established. According to the chairman, this force would take steps to combat the new emerging threat and formulate a cyber security strategy.

Mushahid said his committee was working on a draft legislation aimed at providing necessary the legal framework for setting up cyber security and cyber defence authorities in the country.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 1st, 2013.

Reader Comments (5)

  • Mj
    Sep 1, 2013 - 3:04PM

    I wonder how much of the focus would be on spying on dissidents, rather than observing and neutralizing threat from other states and rogue elements.

    ““Cyber warriors have replaced combat soldiers to a great extent, if not completely,” Senator Kamran told the committee meeting. “Cyber space, ideology, culture and religion have been transformed into the new battle-fields, replacing the old physical ones,” she added.

    The above comment by the senator reveals much.

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  • wijdan
    Sep 2, 2013 - 10:46AM

    The matrix of binary code has transformed the nature of war. Using worldwide connected networks of computers states sponsored hackers and free individuals can reach to the top secret documents of target states. It is an unseen war among the states. states are highly engaged in confronting cyber crimes thats why states most of the vulnarable states have emphasized on the formulation of cyber laws. Its more important for Pakistan to establish cyber task force this will help to deal with cyber threats.

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  • Sana Khan
    Sep 2, 2013 - 11:22AM

    In the global world, security threats have changed their dynamics from traditional security threats to non-traditional security threats, which includes; food security, environmental security and most importantly cyber security. World is showing much concerns regarding the issue of cyber security s[especially after the NSA case.International community has diverted its attention majorily towards cyber security threats. Government of Pakistan is already working on &-action plan which is majorlly focussing on how to counter the cyber security threat. Global efforts are required to counter this threat.

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  • Natalia
    Sep 2, 2013 - 12:14PM

    Ofcourse, this is an age of information warfare. Incidents like Snowden can put a direct threat to country’s national security and even world’s major power does not remain immune from this technological attack. There is a dire need for Pakistan to develop a comprehensive counter cyber mechanism. It is an obvious fact that adversaries now attack on information networks which has this capability to totally crack down the whole system of networks.

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  • Rabia
    Sep 2, 2013 - 7:07PM

    What’s disturbing in this is that every time international bodies use propaganda against Pakistan nuclear which are safer enough and have the best security protocols second to none. Pakistan has always been treated unfairly, stigmatised and victimised by the U.S in every aspect of so-called alliance. This can be due to our old habit of putting all foreign policy eggs in one basket or because we have not learnt those international relations are always transactional and no state can be really trusted. Obama claimed, “We were protecting US security and tracking terrorists.” Now our government, especially Foreign Office, really needs to fear what they are going to do with all those files they spied from Pakistan. As its secure communications mission includes military, diplomatic, and all other sensitive, confidential or secret government communications.

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